The Adventures of Chartan: A Name

            (Last Sunday: Two of the six teens Chartan drove to the prom are missing; Brazil concentrates on taking Russian prisoners to a detention center.)

            Although Chartan tried not to wake Gina when he entered the apartment, she stumbled into the kitchen, fresh from a deep sleep.

            “You’re late,” she said. “Everything okay?”

            “Two teens I drove to the prom are missing—police can’t find them. They told me to go home and stay near a phone.”

            Gina sat at the kitchen table and yawned.  “I’m too tired to think, but that sounds like trouble.”

            “The fare was strange from the start.” Chartan sat down across from his wife. “I’ve had a lot of strangeness in my life—this is just another chapter.”

            “Am I strange?”

            “Of course, not. You’re the shining light in my life. I’m anxious for parenthood.”

            “Not as anxious as me—he’s kicking tonight.”

            “Maybe it’s time the ‘he’ had a name,” said Chartan with a smile.

            “Agreed. Do you have a name in mind?”

            Chartan stared at the table top and the crumbs from a blueberry muffin he had in the morning. He looked intently at Gina and said, “You realize I am not a good example—I have the same first and last name and that is odd to most people.”

            “Surely, you parents didn’t name you that.”

            “Their last name was Evers and they called me Charlie. After they died I legally changed my name to Chartan Chartan—I was 19, confused—I wanted to be alone, to start over again. I was into maps at the time. Charts are maps of a sort—that’s where I came up with the name. I only use one Chartan now—it’s legal.”

            “How come you never mention your parents?”

            “Sounds like a media interview?”

            “We’re bringing someone into the world without grandparents,” said Gina. “Our child will need a road map of where he came from—your parents are gone and I haven’t  seen either of mine in ten years—they may be dead for all I know.”

            “I pray Brazil returns safely—he can be a grandfather.”

            “And Julie would be a grandmother by default.”

            “Still doesn’t get us a name,” offered Chartan.

            “Maybe tomorrow, I’m falling asleep here,” said Julie.

            “Tomorrow sounds good.”

(Continued next Sunday)

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